Preston North End go in search of their first league victory of the season tomorrow against world record-breaking Scunthorpe United at Glanford Park.
It is understood that when the Iron drew 0-0 with Wycombe Wanderers at the end of March last season, the club set a new Football League landmark – consigning a 125-year record held by PNE to the history books.
Scunthorpe boss – and former North Ender – Russ Wilcox proudly boasts the longest unbeaten league streak by any new manager since the start of his tenure.
After reaching 24 games unbeaten against the Chairboys, Wilcox beat Major William Sudell’s first 23 league games in charge of the great Preston Invincibles of 1888/89.
Scunthorpe went on to stretch their unbeaten run to 28, which is believed to have bettered Andre Villas-Boas’ world record of 25, set when he was manager of Porto.
The records may be unverified but it still illustrates how successful Scunthorpe have been since Wilcox – who spent two seasons at Deepdale in the mid-1990s – took over from the sacked Brian Laws in November last year.
The Iron suffered only one defeat under his management as he them led to automatic promotion from League Two – they finished in second spot in the table, just three points behind champions Chesterfield.
Although they lost their opening league game to Swindon last weekend, they caused a shock on Tuesday night when they defeated Championship outfit Blackburn Rover in the Capital One Cup.
And North End boss Simon Grayson knows his side face a severe examination of their abilities tomorrow.
“Scunthorpe have had a fantastic period under Russ,” Grayson said. “He set a world record last year with the number of games unbeaten.
“So full credit to Russ and obviously Scunthorpe went on to win promotion, so they have that momentum at the moment which all promoted teams have.
“They will have been disappointed to have lost at the weekend.
“B but they bounced back very well at Blackburn in midweek in the cup.
“They are a hard-working team who are organised, so we know what to expect – it’s not going to be an easy game for us but we’ll try to impose our game.”
After drawing their season’s opener 1-1 against Notts County at Deepdale on Saturday, Grayson’s men registered their first victory of the season on Tuesday when they defeated Rochdale 2-0 at Spotland in the Capital One Cup.
Their reward for beating Keith Hill’s men was second-round tie away to Championship outfit Middlesbrough.
Although North End did not get the glamour Premier League tie they were hoping for, Boro will be a good test for them, especially as they have big ambitions of reaching the second tier of English football next season.
Grayson said: “I think it’s a good draw, in terms of the size of club that Middlesbrough are.
“They’ve started the season well and will have big aspirations this year to get in the play-offs and above.
“It’s not the big Premier League club but it’s still a big test for us.”
The tie will take place on Tuesday, August 26 (7.45pm), and tickets are priced £10 for adults, £7 for OAPs and £5 for juniors.